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October 6, 2010

Two CCNY Students Honored in Name of Clinton Climate Initiative



Farah Ahmad (second from left) and Samuel Mikhail (second from right) have receive scholarships in the name of the Clinton Climate Initiative from the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  They appear with Professor Christian Volkmann (left), Dean George Ranalli (center) and Professor Hillary Brown (right).  Professors Volkmann and Brown are advisors to the City College Solar Decathlon team.

Farah Ahmad, Samuel Mikhail to Receive Scholarships at AIA NY Heritage Ball

Two fourth-year students in the Spitzer School of Architecture at The City College of New York (CCNY) will receive scholarships in the name of the Clinton Climate Initiative for their team leadership efforts in CCNY’s entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011.  Farah Ahmad and Samuel Mikhail, natives of Staten Island now living in Manhattan, will be recognized October 7 at the Heritage Ball, a benefit held by the American Institute of Architects’ New York (AIA NY) chapter and the Center for Architecture Foundation.

“Farah and Sam’s commitment to “Team New York,” CCNY’s entrant in the Solar Decathlon, strikes a parallel chord with the agenda outlined by the Clinton Climate Initiative,” noted George Ranalli, dean of the Spitzer School of Architecture, in congratulating them.  The Clinton Climate Initiative seeks to transform the climate through energy efficiency in cities, ending deforestation and increasing large-scale energy supply.  It is one of four organizations being honored at the gala. 

Schools participating in the Solar Decathlon compete in ten categories to design, build and operate the most affordable, attractive, effective and energy-efficient solar-powered house.  The project culminates in a two-week exhibition and judging on the National Mall in Washington.

At CCNY, more than 100 students, including future architects, engineers, artists and writers, are participating as members of Team New York.  Through their project, called the Solar Roof Pod, these students are revolutionizing a vision into a reality that could dramatically transform the skyline of New York City.

The Solar Roof Pod would sit atop residential buildings in New York City.  Rooftops are often underutilized and they constitute a large percentage of the city’s floor space.  Unlike other Solar Decathlon entrants, Team New York’s focus is on the urban environment, and it offers a sustainable solution to the need for added living space in cities, which are growing faster than rural and suburban areas.

Mr. Mikhail, primary student contact for Team New York, and Ms. Ahmad, Team New York’s public relations student representative, have been part of an awareness campaign that has lead them to such platforms as the New York City Solar Summit and the Mayor’s Office.  Through studio design courses, industry outreach and educational awareness, they have strived to address environmental problems in urban areas.    

“The Solar Decathlon competition has raised my awareness on issues like sustainability and global warming,” said Mr. Mikhail, who also serves as vice president of CCNY’s chapter of American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS).  “The new generation is the hope of New York City.  We are the future, we are the candles of hope...and organizations such as Clinton Climate Initiative are the fuel that keeps us going.”

“Becoming a part of the Solar Decathlon has allowed me to realize how many different industries must interact to create a sustainable urban environment,” said Ms. Ahmad, who is president of the AIAS chapter.  “Agendas such as the Clinton Climate Initiative facilitate such large-scale notions and make them seem like less daunting tasks.”

The Heritage Ball is an annual fundraising event hosted by the AIA NY chapter and the Center for Architecture Foundation. The Heritage Ball raises funds for the AIA NY chapter, Center for Architecture, and the Center for Architecture Foundation, all of which promote design excellence in New York City.  Four honorees are annually recognized for their outstanding performances in design.  Each honoree selects one academic program to receive a scholarship for their students.

In addition to the Clinton Climate Initiative, Vicki Match Suna, AIA (New York University Langone Medical Center), the 200 West Street Project Team (builders of the new Goldman Sachs headquarters) and Henry N. Cobb, FAIA (founding partner of the architecture firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners) will be honored at the event.

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